Visual effects roundtable: ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’ ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’
“All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” are two very different films with very different approaches to visual effects, but their goals were the same. “The effects, really, all it comes down to is it’s serving the story. You can’t have good effects without good stories,” “Avatar” senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri tells Gold Derby at our Meet the Experts: Visual Effects roundtable with “All Quiet” VFX supervisor Frank Petzold (watch the exclusive video interview above). Click on each name to watch that person’s individual chat.
“Frank, I love the film because it drew you right into it and the effects, what you guys did, did that,” Letteri continues. “It brought you into that world and that’s what it needed to do. Because at the end, you want to come out of it saying, ‘I love that film,’ and not necessarily know why. If you do it properly, that’s what you’re after.”
Petzold says one of the common misconceptions about visual effects is that they are technicians when they are artists in their own right. “I’m always happy to be on a set where you’re included [in discussions], but there are also projects where you’re just seen as a technician — ‘Oh, just do it,’” he says. One thing for which he advocates is to film more footage on set even just for reference so VFX artists have something to work off of, to be inspired by.
“I’m sort of joking with the artists that they come into the studio and they leave when it’s dark at night and then we expect them to come up with photorealistic stuff in the computer, and it’s like the poor guy hasn’t seen the light of day in three months,” Petzold shares. “Creativity has to come from somewhere. People need time to play to recreate stuff and also have ideas. That’s something I hope will get better where visual effects artists are given time to experiment.”
Watch the full panel above to find our what their favorite VFX in film are and more.